What is Your Networking Strategy?

networking-strategyI often hear people say “I am just not good at networking” or “I really do not know how to network”. The problem is that the ability to network in person or online requires a strategy. If you are not good at networking, that means you have not yet created a strategy.

As entrepreneurs and small business owners we do not have the luxury of attending every single networking event available. In order to create your strategy you first must be very clear on who your ideal client is.

Once you are clear on your ideal client you will be able to select where to network and how to approach the event. For example, if you were seeking to date a specific person or type of person you would want to go where they hang out. Socialize where they socialize and go relax where they go to relax. The activity of networking can be thought of in a similar way.

If it feels weird to think about your networking activity in this manner, think of networking as building up your Social Capital. It is the relationships that you build through networking that become your building blocks for your business growth and ultimate success.

Ask yourself these questions to get moving right now to help you begin to create your networking strategy:

  1. Who are the people you wish to work with? Everyone is the wrong answer.
    Be very specific in identifying your ideal client group or niche.
  2. Where do these ideal clients spend their time both online and in person?
  3. Name five specific people who fit the first question and then apply it to the second question. How will you meet them? Where will you meet them? What are they interested in?

A strategy I teach my corporate clients is to map out through the course of the year specific functions, events, dinners, luncheons, etc. where their ideal clients are gathered, and make room in your schedule for these functions.

The goal is to connect and establish a relationship. It is not to sell to anyone anything.

Over time and by being present and establishing a relationship you are developing a trusting relationship. Then you will become a trusted resource for referrals. A referral still remains the single best way to get new clients.

These methods are successful in both online and in person networking. It is essential to be present in both worlds. Do not lose yourself into thinking everything is online now. Nothing replaces the face-to-face networking and warm referral methods derived from this process.

Mitch Tublin is an advanced certified personal and executive coach who resides in Stamford, CT.

Know Who Your Ideal Clients Are For Success in Business

One of the subjects which transits across all types of businesses no matter the size, level, or years in actual business, is to know who your client is. Most of you know this fact, or have heard this statement before.

Is it possible you never thought about why this is important to the ultimate success of your business?

In the larger corporate setting have you witnessed a company which takes a direction that is not in tune with their ideal client definition, and there is a backlash against their ‘new’ product or offering? Some examples are Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Burger King, HP, and Blackberry (there are numerous other examples).

In the medium to small business setting have you seen a business partner with another business or create a business line not congruent with how they are thought of by their loyal clients only to have to rethink the entire strategy? A few which come to mind for me are the local waste removal company who started an accounting offer and tax preparation service, the restaurant owner who began to offer asphalt paving services, the high end clothes store which opened a discount maternity store next door.

In each of these examples, there was no natural synergy between the first successful business and the new start-up business. This is not to say that it is not possible to begin another business totally unrelated to your core business. It is important to recognize you will achieve little or no upside following from your current ideal client group to a new unrelated business, and you risk damaging your brand with another type of business unrelated to the core business which you are known for.

For a start up venture, or for a new or growing entrepreneurial company, the ideal client definition is absolutely critical. Similar to the above discussions, the following applies to each of the categories.

  • How will you conduct your marketing?
  • Where will you conduct your marketing?
  • What is the marketing budget you have available?

All of these questions are impacted by your dialed in ideal client definition or your lack of one.

If you doubt this, consider how the internet has created the ability for anyone to rapidly reach their ideal client group. The definitions are there – age, sex, geography, education level, and much more. You now have the ability to hone in your message for your ideal client to see it. The words you utilize in your message must be written with your ideal client in mind. Otherwise the ability to utilize the internet will be lost with an unclear message.

Any type of business, and any sized business, must understand and define their ideal client. Are you ready to recheck your ideal client definition? Does your marketing and messaging need a review to see if you are reaching your ideal client group?

Contact Mitch Tublin today, www.thementorguy.com.

Networking Not Working or is it Your Business Strategy?

Do you return from networking events and wonder why you spent the time, the effort and often the money (if there was a fee to attend) when you are not obtaining clients, new business or quality contacts?  Are you feeling like your networking is not working?

Starbucks - Networking Strategy

Flickr - marcopako

Let us assume that you are attending the right events to network with your ideal client niche or the people who will be able to connect you with your ideal client.

Do you have a favorite place you enjoy going to? This may be a local bar, a favorite restaurant, even your local Starbucks? When you go there now are you recognized? For example, your name is used when people say hello or the bartender has your exact beverage for you as you enter the room, or at the counter at Starbucks your exactly and specifically Starbucks Language beverage is recited with the question added at the end “correct, the usual?”

Here is my question for you – do you recall the very first time you were there? The first time, no one knew your name, no one knew you drank a Blue Sapphire Gin and tonic with a lime, no one at Starbucks knew you wanted a double latte, skim milk, low foam.

The point here is this, networking is the same way.

  • You must have a consistent presence.
  • You must create the relationships.
  • You must follow up and engage.

Some of these items may sound familiar to you.  Hopefully you will now create the habits that work for networking like a pro.  Here are a few more tips for you so you may grow into the networker you want to become.

Determine the categories of people you are meeting. Make this a game for yourself. You might say to yourself, there are people I definitely know are my ideal clients, there are people I definitely know who are not my ideal clients and then there is everyone else.

Begin to track after your networking events who you meet and which category you placed them into. How many of the ideal clients you met are you actively meeting and engaging to create a relationship?  Caution – this is not placing the person on your newsletter list or auto-generated email list; it is actively meeting in person or speaking on the phone.

From your category of people you are certain they are not your ideal client, how many of them know your ideal client profile and what you do?  What if their brother or sister, co-worker or best friends are your ideal clients?  How will they know?  How will you know?  Do you have a strategy to connect with these people you know are not your ideal clients to let them know more about you?

Whatever the categories are you create, track who is where and track what you are doing to further the relationship. You may find more clients are coming from the referral from the group of ‘not my ideal clients’.  How will you know if you are not creating the categories and tracking?

Are you ready to take your networking skills to the next level?

Are you ready to treat your business like a business and yourself like a CEO who means business?  Book your meeting now with Mitch Tublin, business strategy expert and successful serial entrepreneur.

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